Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
April 2003 was the cruelest month for the people of Iraq, a month of reflection on Pakistan by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and a rare opportunity for Worldview India, a dedicated group of Indian journalists who helped lift the mist from the historic events that month. Americans had occupied Iraq, by April 3. Vice President Dick Cheney, the real author of the operation, was eager to declare victory on April 9. It was to be a spectacular media event. After all, Cheney had embedded 300 plus journalists with the forces.
The choreography was audacious. In a prepared statement, Dick Cheney would declare victory on Global Media. This statement would be interspersed with images of an ecstatic, popular upsurge pulling down the statue of Saddam Hussain at Firdous Square. Cheney’s talking head would alternate with the slow fall of the statue. Cheney would never have dreamt that all the back-channel tricks that had gone into the manufacture of the memorable spectacle would be exposed. For the first time in the history of Indian journalism, Worldview India had posted camera units/cum reporters in Baghdad, Najaf, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Amman, Lebanon. Some of these reporters happened to be in a Palestine hotel, witness to the real story — the one the world was not supposed to know.
Contrary to the narrative of a popular uprising toppling the statue, the Americans had to think on their feet: they had to improvise the iconic images because the popular upsurge had simply not materialized. US marines were mobilized to ‘lasso’ the neck of the statue and have it pulled down by cranes. CNN, the premier cheerleader for the occupation, has to this day incorporated a video of the statue as a lasting symbol of Americans replacing a “brutal” dictatorship with democracy.
As we know from the experience of various “color revolutions”, camera angles can amplify a handful of people (in this case the workers of Palestine hotel) into a revolution on the march. True, the sole superpower can arrange for a statue to be pulled down, but how does it show images of crowds celebrating Saddam Hussein’s fall?
1991-92 Shia uprising in Najaf and Karbala encouraged by operation Desert Storm was harshly put down by Saddam Hussein. The only images of the damaged shrine of Imam Hussain were brought to the world by a TV crew led by this reporter. The Shia refugees from this almost unreported conflict had been settled in a vast ghetto on the outskirts of Baghdad. It was named, like much else in Iraq those days, as Saddam City. It dawned on Cheney’s team that one group of people thrilled at the “fall of Saddam” were actually the inmates of the nearby ghetto, teeming with disgruntled Shias.
A deal was struck with the controversial cleric, Muqtada Sadr. Saddam’s city was renamed “Sadr” city. That is when celebrations erupted on the streets of Baghdad. Crowds from Sadr city trampled on posters of Saddam Hussein and beat them with their sandals. American romance with the Shias of Iraq burgeoned. On March 20, 2005, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times recommended Grand Ayatullah Ali Sistani for the Nobel Prize. Sistani remains the blue-eyed Ayatullah because he differs from Tehran on the clergy’s role in governing the state.
Cheney’s contrivance of a quick victory in Iraq was matched by the energetic diplomacy of the US embassy in New Delhi. They persuaded South Block to participate in the American victory by taking over the administration of Iraq’s Kurdish North. A powerful cabinet minister like Jaswant Singh found the American blandishment tempting. Prime Minister Vajpayee, the as much a statesman as a skillful politician, rather than rubbish his cabinet colleagues, went into one of his extended spells of deep reflection.
He called up his friend A.B. Bardhan, Secretary-General of the CPI. “Are you supporting Indian occupation of Kurdish Iraq?”. Vajpayee taunted. “Not at all” exclaimed Bardhan. “But I see no protest”. Vajpayee continued. The Prime Minister was looking for signs of street restiveness on the issue to cite in opposing the idea. The source for this exchange was Bardhan. Vajpayee did not deny it.
This was a period of extraordinary tension between India and Pakistan. After the 2001 December 13 attack on the Indian Parliament, the two militaries were in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation. On April 18, Vajpayee landed in Srinagar and, without a hint to his cabinet colleagues, held out his hand of peace to Pakistan. “An awesome power has arisen”. Regional quarrels have no meaning now. Conflicts in the region would have to be composed. The January 4, 2004 Indo-Pak summit in Islamabad followed.
Vajpayee found the “sole superpower” moment forbidding. Hence his quest for regional peace. Narender Modi’s crawl towards a regional entente is dictated by a different set of circumstances. Burgeoning China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan togetherness in the vicinity makes a friendly US look too distant.
Journalists of Worldview India remember April of 2003 for the kind of journalism Indian journalists have never practiced before or since. The idea was to cover the war and the occupation of Iraq from an Indian perspective. The western media would of course cover the occupation comprehensively but from its own perspective. Indeed, the embedded journalists would be part of the war effort. This would not be the Indian perspective unless New Delhi accepted the proposition that it was India’s war too. Indian media houses are tone-deaf on such issues.
For coverage of foreign affairs, they have deals with Reuters, BBC, CNN, FOX News, and so on — so much for atmnirbharta or self-sufficiency. A word of gratitude is owed to S.Y. Qureshi, Director General of Doordarshan, for having grasped the significance of the project. He fought the resistance in the system. The standard argument against covering foreign affairs was familiar. “Foreign affairs have low TRP ratings”.
Let Qureshi bear witness. Amitabh Bachchan’s Kaun Banega Crorepati had the highest ratings until Worldview India’s one-hour prime time reporting from the Gulf by dedicated reporters pipped it to the post. (IANS/JC)
Some women say they experienced period changes after getting a Covid-19 vaccination. While the reported changes are short-lived, research into this possible adverse reaction remains critical to the success of the vaccination programme, according to an editorial published in The BMJ.
"A link between menstrual changes after Covid-19 vaccination is plausible and should be investigated," wrote Dr Victoria Male, a reproductive specialist at Imperial College London, in the editorial. Reports of menstrual changes after Covid-19 vaccination have been made for both mRNA and adenovirus-vectored vaccines, she added, suggesting that, if there is a connection, it is likely to be a result of the immune response to vaccination, rather than to a specific vaccine component, she said.
While changes to periods or unexpected vaginal bleeding are not listed as common side effects of Covid-19 vaccination, more than 30,000 such reports have been made to the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) surveillance scheme for adverse drug reactions till September 2. However, most people find that their period returns to normal the following cycleand, importantly, there is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccination adversely affects fertility, Male said.
Most people find that their period returns to normal the following cycleand, importantly, there is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccination adversely affects fertility, Male said. | Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash
The MHRA states that its surveillance data does not support a link between changes to menstrual periods and Covid-19 vaccines, since the number of reports is low in relation to both the number of people vaccinated and the prevalence of menstrual disorders generally. However, the way in which data is collected makes firm conclusions difficult, Male noted.
She argued that approaches better equipped to compare rates of menstrual changes in vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations are needed, and pointed to the study that the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has undertaken. Indeed, the menstrual cycle may be affected by the body's immune response to the virus itself, with one study showing menstrual disruption in around a quarter of women infected with SARS-CoV2.
If a link between vaccination and menstrual changes is confirmed, this will allow individuals seeking vaccination to plan in advance for potentially altered cycles, Male contended. In the meantime, clinicians must encourage their patients to report any changes to periods or unexpected vaginal bleeding after vaccination. And anyone reporting a change in periods persisting over a number of cycles, or new vaginal bleeding after the menopause, should be managed according to the usual clinical guidelines for these conditions, she suggested. (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: vaccine, menstrual cycle, period, covid, women, health
A garage sale in the 21st century needs a tech-savvy platform. This is where Poshmark comes into the picture, the platform with a community of over 2.5 million Canadians has products listed with over half a billion dollars in value by their users.
It began expanding outside of the United States in Canada in May 2019 and has now launched in India. So its become simple and easy for anyone to sell items from their closet, enabled by a full suite of end-to-end seller tools and services, including seamless listing, merchandising, promotion, pricing, and shipping. Indian consumers will be able to join Social marketplace Poshmark, Inc. (Nasdaq: POSH), a booming community of more than 80 million users and a vibrant network of millions of shoppable closets to make money, save money, connect with others, and foster entrepreneurship.
The platforms scalable model and infrastructure enables continued expansion to new countries and categories in the future. | Photo by Duy Hoang on Unsplash
"As an Indian who grew up exploring the marketplaces of Old Delhi, I know firsthand how important it is to come together and connect as part of the shopping experience. I am confident that our social marketplace will resonate with Indian consumers and allow us to build a thriving and successful community here." The platform's scalable model and infrastructure enables continued expansion to new countries and categories in the future. (IANS/ MBI)
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
Keywords: Clothes, garage, Poshmark, India, Old Delhi, social marketplace
Great historic events that have shaped the world and changed the outlines of countries are often not recorded in memory, or so we think. Wars made sure to destroy evidence and heritage, and the ones who survived told the tale of what really happened. Folklore, albeit through oral tradition kept alive many such stories, hidden in verse, limericks, and rhymes.
Ringa-ringa-roses, a common playtime rhyme among children across the world, is an example of folklore that has survived for many centuries. It tells the story of the The Great Plague of London which ravaged the city between 1665-1666.
The Plague broke out from improper disposal of garbage and poor sewage conditions. Fleas from the rats that lived in the sewers spread the disease that killed more than half of London's population. Many people fled from their homes as there was no medicine available for those who were infected.
Beak-shaped masks worn during the Great Plague of London Image source: wikimedia commons
It was around this time that masks began to be invented. The first masks were shaped like beaks, and were worn not to protect the wearer from the disease, but to the prevent them from being able to smell the decay and death around them, which they called 'miasma'. The beaks were filled with floral herbs that allowed doctors and nurses to tend to the sick without being reviled from the smell.
Children are often seen forming circles by holding hands and reciting loudly,
Pockets full of posies
We all fall down"
An illustration of the Great Plague of London, 1665 Image source: wikimedia commons
When the last line is sung, they break the circle and fall down. The roses and posies are believed to be the preferred fragrances inside the masks, and a single sneeze (a-tishoo) was enough to infect the one who was exposed to the disease. Consequently, they fell down, ill, and later died.
An alternative version of this rhyme is sung about the fall of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the aftermath of World War II. The roses and posies are interchanged with geranium and uranium, to symbolise what was used in the atomic bomb. But this version is not as famous the original.
Keywords: Rhymes, Ringa-ringa-roses, Great Plague of London, WWII, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Folklore